142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Restaurants: Are They Safe? (But Not What You Think)

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 9:18 AM - 9:34 AM

Mitchel Rosen, PhD , Rutgers School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Peter Tabbot, MPH , Rockaway Township Division of Health, Rockaway, NJ
Public health department personnel have a significant impact on health and safety issues in their community’s retail food establishments. In New Jersey, Registered Environmental Health Specialists (REHSs) routinely inspect establishments to ensure that health code requirements are met. While public health codes nationwide protect against a wide scope of food handling and safety concerns, there is little attention to the occupational risks food handlers incur in this environment. In this study, the Rutgers School of Public Health and the Rockaway Township Division of Health, serving a population of 44,000 in four municipalities, developed a checklist of restaurant health and safety concerns and surveyed establishments in their jurisdiction. The surveyed restaurants included those deemed to provide comprehensive retail food preparation and service. During routine food establishment inspections, REHSs completed the checklist to identify whether workplace safety issues were present. This was performed via walk through inspection and observation; REHSs did not interview restaurant staff. The types of hazards assessed included risk of burns, cuts, slips, falls and other accidents. In addition, potentially dangerous conditions like inadequate lighting, poor ventilation and structurally unsound environments were noted. The purpose was to identify whether restaurants are following safety guidelines and procedures, and thereby providing safe work environments to employees. This study will report data collected from retail food establishments in four culturally diverse New Jersey municipalities. Data analysis will include the type of restaurant, the number of hazards and the risks most frequently observed.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Identify key concerns in restaurants that were observed in restaurants; Describe how local health departments can impact occupational health and safety in retail establishments in their jurisdiction.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Public Health Administration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the lead on developing the survey that was administered in the program. I have worked on OHS issues for over 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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